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Editorial: Prospects for BAC look good

WREDC president Glenn Thuringer stands in Bay Two of the incubator stalls at the new Biotechnology Advancement Center in Worthington.

An open house Friday at Worthington's Biotechnology Advancement Center (BAC) gave visitors -- and potential tenants -- the opportunity to check out a first-class facility.

The event, hosted by Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. (WREDC) and University of Minnesota Extension, represents the latest chapter in a journey that began in 2003. That's when the Blandin Foundation awarded a $134,000 grant to WREDC and the city of Worthington to launch a local bioscience initiative.

From there, the city and WREDC worked with Minnesota West Community and Technical College to establish a bioscience curriculum. Then, in 2005, the state of Minnesota chipped in $2.5 million for infrastructure improvements in the bioscience park.

Then came a 2005 city partnership with Nobles County to invest $410,000 in a spec building in the park, followed by more than $2 million in additional state and federal funds over the last few years. The result, to this juncture, is a sparkling facility that could potentially be a showcase for biotechnology research and education.

A key component of the successful development of the BAC has been teamwork. In addition to the aforementioned construction undertaken by the city and county -- as well as efforts with Minnesota West -- other partnerships have been forged. Connections with four-year colleges such as Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, South Dakota State University and Minnesota State University-Mankato have been made, and the University of Minnesota Extension Regional Center's October relocation into the BAC should definitely help in the attraction of other enterprises to share its space.

If the last eight years are any indication, further successes at Worthington's BAC -- given the positive efforts thus far -- should be a certainty.